Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 16, 2021

During my freshman year, one of my dormmates suggested we all get t-shirts made up to read: “Hubbard House: Where Men Are Men, and Sheep Are Scared”.

That idea didn’t exactly fly, even when the reference was recognized. But now, twenty years later and thousands of miles away, sheep in Britain have a legitimate reason to fear for their safety:

The ovine crime wave began, insurance company and farm union officials say, after global food prices started jumping again. With bouts of bad weather in major producers such as Russia, Argentina and Australia and increasing demand in Asia, the price for many grains is now busting through the record highs they set in 2008. But meat prices have also surged, particularly for lamb.

Because of escalating world demand and scaled-back production in such nations as New Zealand, a farmer’s price per pound for lamb here is now about 35 percent higher than in 2008. The 45 head of sheep stolen from [farmer Andrew] Allen in late September, for instance, were worth $6,400 - or twice the price they would have fetched five years ago.

Rising prices have fueled what authorities here describe as a thriving black market for lamb and mutton, with stolen animals butchered in makeshift slaughterhouses before their meat is illegally sold to small grocery stores, pubs and penny-wise consumers.

Hard to imagine a similar run on barnyard assets here in the States. Obviously you couldn’t fence the beasts (without barbed wire, anyway). And where would you set up an illegal slaughterhouse without neighbors getting wise? What’s the alternative — illegally peddling wool shearings? American criminals are more inclined toward Industrial Revolution-style larceny.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/16/2011 07:05pm
Category: Business, True Crime
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